Friday, March 15, 2013

Midwest After School Academy

I just got back from the Midwest After School Academy in Kansas City, MO.  I had a great time meeting folks from all over the midwest, hearing the latest about equity in STEM after school, and learning about the importance of evaluation in after school settings.  

I presented a workshop on free resources for after school science providers.  Here's a roundup of the sources that the Coalition recommends:

Of course we wanted to highlight the benefits of becoming a member of the Coalition, which include receiving our monthly newsletter, being listed on our website, and potentially being featured in our blog.  If you're not already a member, here's where you can join today!

The Directory is a great way to promote your after school science program.  Because of our partnership with Time Warner Cable's Connect A Million Minds initiative, your program gains national exposure through their Connectory.  

This report from The After School Corporation (TASC) is one of the many reports the Coalition draws upon to help define what is quality in after school science programming.

If you're fired up about inquity in STEM education, the NGCP is a great place to find like-minded partners to help work towards closing the gender gap.  Almost every state has a collaborative and their vision is to bring together organizations committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.

This organization was developed out of the NGCP in response to a national concern over the lack of women in STEM.  Through the NGCPs years of service and outreach we now understand the importance of using role models and mentors to increase girls' engagement in and understanding of STEM.  Use to search for female role models for your girl-serving program.

Techbridge is an Oakland, CA based organization dedicated to training STEM role models for girls and under represented students.  They have excellent resources available for free on their website and they also offer an annual summer institute for educators interested in addressing equity in their programs.

SciGirls is an animated series directed at young girls and tweenagers and helps to recast girls as capable, curious, science smart, and action oriented.  The show is based on lots of research about the career readiness of girls and women in STEM, and you can find it on the Educational Philosophy page of their website.

Design Squad Nation

Design Squad Nation is another PBS show, this one starring real life teenagers working on real life engineering problems. Their online activities and guides are designed as companion pieces to the show but they can be used independently to either support a unit that kids are interested in or to get them interested in new topics.  The website also has trainings to help adults get more familiar with leading engineering challenges.

Afterschool Alliance

The Alliance recently came out with a report called "Defining Youth Outcomes for STEM learning in Afterschool."  It was complied by talking to afterschool directors, service providers and stakeholders.  These are the outcomes that afterschool providers reported as being realistic in terms of what they want to see as a result of their STEM after school offerings.  We also recommend the Alliance's toolkit for advocating for STEM afterschool.
You For Youth recently redesigned their website and it’s all geared towards providing PD and technical assistance to 21st Century Community Learning Centers.  Even if you’re not a 21st CCLC you can use all of the resources on their website for free.  They have an entire section devoted to STEM training including PowerPoint trainings to go, Training starters that help you develop your own trainings on different topics, and customizable tools for goal setting and program planning.

Informal Commons

The Informal Commons is a powerful search engine that allows ISE professionals to search for digital resources across ISE web sites. Access it through the Center for advancement of informal science education.

Assessment Tools in Informal Science

If you’re looking to take on some evaluation of your program you can find lots of free evaluation tools on the ATIS website. At MASA I heard a lot of excitement about involving students in evaluating the programs that serve them, and there are lots of evaluation tools on this site that will help you get at how much kids enjoy science, or how much they identify themselves as scientists or science-capable. 
Science After School Consumers Guide
The Coalition presents The Science After School Consumers Guide as an online collection of after school science programs that we have identified as exceptionally high quality.  It includes curricula, kits, guides and websites with content for after school science programs.  The guide is searchable by subject, grade and cost.


4-H has tons of great science curriculum, and it’s not just about cows and cooking.  If you search their directory you’ll find activities about ecology, wind power, native animals and habitats, chemistry and more. is a warehouse for science activities that are perfect for after school settings.  Leading institutions like the Exploratorium, the New York Hall of Science and the Science Museum of Minnesota got the ball rolling by entering science activities into the database and now there are thousands of searchable entries.  

The Lawrence Hall of Science helped develop the curriculum AfterSchool KidsScience and a bunch of great videos that are perfect to supplement professional development trainings. Sometimes a video is the only way to really get across what high quality instruction looks like in after school settings. 

Do you use these resources?  What do you think?  Any more free resources for after school science programs that you'd like to recommend?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Alan Friedman on Science and After School Programs

Recently, Coalition Director Carol Tang organized a double session at the AAAS conference in Boston about scientists in after school settings. Among the many notable speakers on the panel was Alan Friedman, an independent education consultant. Alan was CEO and Director of the New York Hall of Science from 1984 to 2006, and has been frequently recognized for his work in informal science education.  

Click here to watch Alan's presentation on the importance of after school science learning on the AAAS website.